Big news, Americans: Joe Biden wants to steal your cheeseburger! This week news rocketed around the internet that President Biden’s climate change plans included cutting American beef consumption by 90%—an amount that averages out to allowing you to enjoy just one burger per month. Fox News covered this news as fact, complete with the chyron, “Up In Your Grill.”
Only one problem – the story is not true, and in reality, the proposal comes from an academic white paper published a year before Joe Biden was even elected President.
Nevertheless, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, Governor Gregg Abbott, and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green, and Fox News’ John Roberts, to name a few, repeated the false claim. By the time the news cycle had run its course, the “news” that Joe Biden wanted to steal America’s hamburgers to fight climate change had rocketed around conservative social media and cable news.
So what does a company or communications professional take from this borderline humorous episode? In today’s world, no company, industry, or consumer product is safe from suddenly being sucked into a political controversy, no matter how contrived. The coverage contained very little in the way of a response from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and their website contains only one very indirect post regarding the controversy.
“Biden’s Burger Ban” was a silly news cycle. But it was also a missed opportunity for the beef industry to get in the conversation and inform the public of the misperceptions about beef’s contributions to climate change.